Is Story Telling Better In Linear Or Open World Settings?

Open world games can sometimes suffer from story problems, even if their gameplay is solid. At the same time however linear games could have the worst story ever. Is it better to write stories in a linear or an open world setting? The editors of VGutopia weigh in.

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Amazingmrbrock2761d ago (Edited 2761d ago )

I don't think thats a factor. I've played open world games with great story, and linear games with great story. I've also played both with bad stories.

I good story is a good story.

I will grant that it is more difficult to make a compelling story in an open world setting but I see that as more of a limitation of technology than anything else.

The random encounter systems in skyrim, red dead redemption, and assassins creed all add interesting experiences to things and make the world seem more real.

Those systems are hinting at truly great ways of creating dynamic stories on the fly.

The biggest limitation that open world games have is that they are as of yet unable to maintain lasting effects to your actions. And they're unable to truly allow you freedom in the world.

What if skyrim came stock with a working economic, political, survival, system that allowed you totally free reign over the world. What if you could become right hand man to the king, then plot a masterful coup? Or what if you could become a trade baron and amass an army of mercenaries to take over a small town? What if instead of killing all the bandits in a broken castle you could join them, rise in ranks, rebuild the castle and attempt to annex the next town over? What if the characters in these situations became your friends and enemies?

What if every character in the game had a family, and extended family. Made relationships with each other, lived died, birthed. All within the world of the game. All in a dynamic procedural fashion. What if you truly could make your own story? Not just follow some standard quests and do your own adventuring in between. I mean really what if the open world allowed you to craft your own story.

Thatguy-3102761d ago

Linear IMO. Open worlds have so much to do that it distracted the players from the story. Reason I don't even know what goes on the GTA, assassin, and all other open world games.

Baka-akaB2761d ago (Edited 2761d ago )

Yakuza , Read Dead redemption , Assassin creed and Infamous do a good job of a still story focused adventure , but i still prefer linear games .

Lucretia2761d ago

yup. Linear is always better, you cant really have the same effect in a story if its not linear. even the cutscenes once initiated must be linear to succeed.

in a game like Skyrim the story will always fail. to much to do, do it how every you want and you never get to like any character.

Witcher has an amazing story though, but i would say the game is open world but linear story wise, sorta. There are choices that change the story, but the story will always make you make a choice at that certain time. you get a quest, you do a bunch of side quests in between, but have to go back to main quest in the end, which again continues to go in a linear way.

I will say Witcher 2 is the best story wise for any open world game

Baka-akaB2761d ago

Didnt mention Witcher 2 , but that's cause it aint an open world game imo , but a linear rpg game with choices .

morkendo232761d ago

Never did like OPEN WORLD games distract from the story, linear games much better.

jmobley2761d ago

I think linear is just better for telling stories, but that doesn't mean there aren't open world games with fantastic stories

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Nac2761d ago

I think it is more focused in a linear experience. I could not imagine UC3 having such an enjoyable story if Drake had all of the desert to explore.

smashcrashbash2761d ago

Exactly. Open world distracts from the story and loses focus.When I first played Oblivion after a while I didn't even remember what I was fighting against or what the world was in danger from. When you are out there picking flowers and looking for herbs and doing tasks for lazy people eventually the story gets lost.

With GOW and UC you knew what you had to did and you did it. With those other games it's like 'We are all going to die!! But take your time. Get married, open a lemonade stand, go swimming, see the sights, join a club, take a nap. Don't mind us we will wait while the demons swallow us whole'

Amazingmrbrock2761d ago

betheseda doesn't make very good stories by any mean.s Their not bioware, they make pretty places and put stuff in them. Fallout 3 had a pretty good beginning but after a while your just doing whatever for info.

There has to e something to keep the story present. Journey's only kind of open but the mountain is ever present. Majora's mask is a bit more linear than ocarina but is still fairly open. The moon hanging above you the whole time keeps you mindful of whats going on.

Most open world games now are just designed around giving you a big playground. There has to be some kind of constant reminder. Something to add tension of some kind or people will just screw around.

Amazingmrbrock2761d ago

yeah but thats because desrets are boring, nobody wants to walk around empty sand. Most deserts aren't as full of stuff as the one in journey, and uc3 takes you to the cool spots. Ocarina of time was open world and it hod a pretty awesome story, same with majoras mask.

See the thing about it is you can't take a linear game example and say this wouldn't work in an open world setting. No it definitely wouldn't work, the story has been designed around being linear. Their literally like different mediums inside gaming, like watercolors and oil paintings.

OmniSlashPT2761d ago

Open worlds nowadays are filled with unnecessary side quests and boring characters. Although games like Uncharted presents the play with few characters but develops them and drives the story around them, open world games like Skyrim have plain, useless characters that are only necessary for quests, and the story itself lives upon these quests, not the characters.

I wouldn't say a open world game has worse storytelling than a linear one, but in general, it's the truth. Red Dead Redemption had a very good storytelling for an open world game for example.

Even ME3 is strictly linear, sure, they give us the false open world and side quests, but everything develops around the main quest and main characters.

For example, Skyrim made me feel like I was in Skyrim, but it didn't make me feel like I was the dragonborn.

JellyJelly2761d ago

Depends on who wrote the script, how good the voice actors are and how good the programmers who put together the game are.

There are good and bad example in both open world and linear titles.

smashcrashbash2761d ago

@ Amazingmrbrock. Very good point. In open games the threat that you face gets lost too easily. Your goal must remain in sight. I mean I loved Batman AC but I kept on wondering how he is doing all these side quests while he was poisoned and dying. And while that was happening Batman was still solving puzzles and going on quests that had nothing to do with getting cure for his imminent death.

In linear games if your quest is to get to a fortress for example, despite any event that side tracks you the urgency to get to your destination is always there.If you don't get there, you know something bad will happen. But with open games it's so laid back. A asteroid is coming to destroy the earth and you have time to go out on dates and set up businesses and search for loot. Sand box games are fine but there is still something to be said for linearity.People still want to go on a quest, beat the bad guy and go home rather then wondering around looking for the red flowers you missed

Baka-akaB2761d ago (Edited 2761d ago )

Not exactly true imo , in linear rpg game at least you can easily stop and go outside the main story to xp or dothe avaiable quests . Very few put a time leash on you , as it's mostly an annoying mechanics , outside of a few games (like persona or time travel based rpgs) .

Diffeence is most open games dont even try to make you care . One main quest that means very little , and you randomly go around triggering event and quests .

Your own crafted journey becomes the story , wich would be fine , even awesome , if what you did meant a damn .

Take skyrim , for all that talk about picking a faction , all it changes are the npc alive ... and you're mostly acknowledged as the Dovahkin by like 5 npcs , or moving npcs when they see you actually kill a dragon , that's it

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